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What do I do now?

A couple of weeks ago, I was working on a project with my sister-in-law Judy (our husbands are brothers).  While Judy and I don't live very far apart, we both have busy lives and don't get a chance to catch up very often.  She spends her days now taking care of her 4 month old great grand daughter.  In the course of our working on this project Judy ask me, "Since you don't work at the Bernina store any longer, what do you do now?"  This question hit me in the face like a bucket of cold water and I could not came up with an immediate answer.  My answer was that I guess I sew a lot.

This question has haunted me in the last couple of weeks and I started paying attention to how I spend my days.  The short answer is that I have a finger in so many pots, that there is not a short answer. Here is a run down of how I have spent my last three months.

  • I maintain my home.  This includes cleaning a big house, making weekly menus and shopping for groceries, preparing meals, cleaning up dishes, laundry, keeping track of a budget and managing the family money, opening and trashing 90% of the mail we receive, take care of a cat (and litter box), gathering the trash and recycling to go out weekly, and purchasing any replacement items our home may need.
  • I do 95% of the yard work. We live on a large lot and in the summer heat, it is not wise to do it all in one day.  I mow, edge, use the weed eater, and blow off the grass that falls on the driveway and walks. I take care of the flower beds.  I also maintain an easement area behind our back fence that is as large as most people's back yard.  Why do I do this?  Because we have a wrought iron back fence and I can see it from the house.  The Home Owner's Association maintains it but I do it also.  My husband helps me when I ask and is happy to help.  I like doing yard work so he lets me do it.  He also enjoys doing it.  He trims the bushes that are too high for me to reach.  He puts out all of the chemicals we spread on the yard (per-emergent and fertilizers). I keep the bird and hummingbird feeders filled.
  • I vegetable garden.  In this sentence, garden is a verb.  It take a lot of time to maintain a garden.  During the prime growing season, it is not only watering (on a city dictated schedule of water rationing), fertilizing, harvesting daily, and running off animals and insects, it is cooking and preserving the overflow of the harvest.  On this note, I looked into becoming a beekeeper.  I have a friend who is a beekeeper and he let me tag along one day to check some of his hives.  He let me use a hat with a veil and gloves. I was able to pull frames from hives covered with bees and beautiful honey.  He invited me over on the honey extraction day.  I attended a meeting of the local beekeepers association.  I found the entire experience fascinating.  I loved it but the bottom line is that I don't have a good spot to put hives and hubby didn't want me to do it.
  • I do all of the books for my son's company.  I love bookkeeping and numbers.  I have one of Dave Ramsey's "nerds" who gets a thrill when everything balances.  This is not a big job but it does have to be completed on a timely basis.  Billing, payroll, payroll taxes, rent, bills, and tax returns all must happen on schedule.  Having said this, we do use an excellent CPA who keeps me on course and legal. Along with this, I am still spending time each week learning a piece of website building software for my son's company.
  • I have spent more time this year going to the doctor.  I am happy to report that I have been released from my doctor who performed my cataract surgery.  I now enjoy 20/20 vision in both eyes, a first since I was a teenager.
  • I help my mother manage her money, banking, and mail as needed.
  • I accept an occasional paying sewing/embroidery job.  Right now I am working on digitizing and stitching a design for a family crest for a customer.  I have just finished a quilt top for a customer. It is ready to send to the long arm quilter.
  • Not to say that I don't enjoy all of the previously listed items, but here is some of my fun events.  Our immediate family tries to meet once a week for a meal and to play board games.  It is wonderful to get to see my kids every week and play competitive but friendly games. We also go to movies together.  Hubby goes with our boys more than we all go.  Not that many movies I want to see.
  • We also spent a short week at a family reunion in Louisiana this summer.  Great to see all the extended Maddox family again.
  • I do sew.  I have spent quite a bit of time this summer working on a hexagon quilt (a variation of a Grandmother's Flower Garden).  For those of you who don't know, this is ALL hand work.  I meet with two small home quilting groups. One group meets every week.  The other group meets twice a month.  It is wonderful to spend a couple of hours with like minded ladies and share ideas. I also attend a monthly meeting on quilting with my local American Sewing Guild.  Right now I am finishing my Lone Star quilt and starting a Storm at Sea with this group.  In addition I attend a month class on learning how to use Electric Quilt.  I have learned so much for our wonderful group leader.  I attend a monthly club at my local Bernina dealership.  I am currently working on the Block of the Month which uses a "Squedge" ruler. Here are pictures of some of the blocks. The second one belongs to my friend Kathy.  I have not made this one yet.

Quilt block
And since I don't get enough time with quilting friends, I re-joined the Allen Quilt Guild last night.  I saw so many familiar faces who welcomed me back.  We had a wonderful speaker last night. She was both entertaining and inspirational.

  • I spent 5 or 6 days with two close friends going on my first "Shop Hop."  A Shop Hop is a group of quilt stores who join together to promote a joint project to increase customers coming into their stores.  I think I was able to visit about 35 stores in North Texas in the first Row by Row Shop Hop.  It was much fun and I got to spend time with two lovely friends. Now to sew up those kits I purchased.
  • I have started crocheting baby blankets for the Assistance League of Greater Collin County.  A couple of ladies in one of the quilt groups started making baby gowns and hats for babies that don't survive birth.  Some of these gowns are so small, it is heartbreaking.  They place the gowns and blankets with other items in a bereavement box given to the parents who must say goodby to their babies.  I have made 5 of these little blankets in the last month and have committed to making more each month.
  • The project that I have been working on with Judy and our hubby's has been taking two Saturday's a month for 4 months now.  I don't see an end in sight yet.  I can't go into detail about this project, but it has made me sick twice with respiratory problems.
  • And lastly, I had to go car shopping.  Anyone who has known me for very long, knows that I drive a vehicle until it won't go any longer. I have driven my current Ford Sport trek since 2000.  Previous to that, I drove a Chevy Astro Van for 13 years. My hubby got rear ended on one of our freeways and the insurance company totaled our 2007 Mercury Mountaineer.  We were so sad to see this SUV go.  We really enjoyed traveling in that one.  We also had planned to replace my older Ford next - but not until it died.  So, we got to go car shopping in the Texas heat.  I absolutely hate to go car shopping which is probably who I don't do it very often.  I drove and sit in more cars and SUV's than I ever wanted to.  Since hubby travels much of the time, he rents cars and had already driven most of them we were considering.  My rules are that we never purchase anything newer than 2-3 years old and we must pay cash or we can't afford it.  Top contenders were a 2010 Ford Explorer, 2011 Honda CRV, and the Ford Edge.  We finally decided on a 2011 Toyota Camry for the price and gas mileage.  I did insist on getting a back up sensor installed.  Hubby is driving the Sport Trek and we are saving our money since we know we will have to replace it in the next two years - barring any more traffic accidents which could make necessary earlier.  I find it interesting that I have pictures of my quilts to post on the blog but not of my "new" car.
  • Oh! and I sometimes write on my blog.

So, this is my answer to "What do you do now that you're not working" question.  My days are filled with things I enjoy and love (except for car shopping and cleaning the litter box.)  My "to do" list is long for today so I must get to it.